If you follow us on social media, it’s no secret that we recently started our cranial band journey with Liam. At our 2 month pediatrician appointment, our doctor noticed Liam was beginning to get a slight flat spot on the back of his head. She mentioned it very casually at the end of the appointment and suggested we place Liam in the crib in different directions with the goal of getting him to sleep on both sides of his head. She said this was a common occurrence in good sleepers, and that babies typically find something like a light or shiny object in their room that they focus on before falling asleep, so positioning him differently for each nap would encourage him to look in both directions and the issue would likely “self correct” itself. The conversation was so casual I didn’t think much of it, we took her advice and began placing him in different directions and continued moving forward with our sleep training schedule assuming this was all we needed to do to resolve the issue.
By 9 weeks old, Liam was sleeping 12 hours through the night. We felt like we were crushing it in the sleep department, until our 4 month well check back at the pediatricians office when all of a sudden the flat spot was no longer a casual mention, but now a referral to a physical therapists office to have it evaluated for moderate to severe Plagiocephaly. In all honesty, Shane and I both felt pretty misled. We heeded the advice of our pediatrician, but because the conversation was so non-chalant we didn’t look into the subject any further. Fast forward 2 months and we were meeting with a physical therapist who diagnosed Liam with not only Plagiocephaly, but Torticollis as well. All of this was brand new to me. None of my close friends have kids, and I had no prior experience with anyone whose child had to have a helmet. Our PT explained that this is more common than we realized, and that 1 in 4 infants get Plagiocephaly now that the “back to sleep” movement is a priority. Along with looking at the different types of Plagiocephaly, we also learned that this is not only common in good sleepers, but also in babies who are breech in utero which was the case for our little Liam. Measurements were taken, and ultimately Liam fell at the end of the moderate range so we opted to begin with 4 weeks of Physical Therapy at the end of May. If a babies skull is soft enough, counter-pressure can sometimes correct the flat spot without the need for a helmet. We were still in the “early intervention” timeframe so opting to start this way was recommended.
In early July we remeasured after the 4 weeks of counter-pressure and physical therapy, and unfortunately Liams flat spot had not gotten worse, but it also had not gotten better – meaning that his skull had likely hardened to where counter-pressure alone would not be enough. We were advised to move forward with the helmet. At this point, as much as I wanted to avoid this route – I felt like we had to do it. My worry was that as he got older glasses wouldn’t fit him correctly, he may be more prone to ear infections or jaw issues, and from a cosmetic standpoint I didn’t want him to hate how his head looked – especially because boys tend to have shorter haircuts.
After our first helmet fitting, the guilt I felt was overwhelming. There was something about seeing him with the helmet on that just crushed my mama heart. I burst into tears the second I walked out of the PT’s office. I felt like I should have taken the initial mention of this with our pediatrician more seriously and that if I would have invested time into researching it back then, that I could have prevented this from happening. A support system in those first few days is essential, and I’m so thankful I chose to share our story on social media because it was everything I needed and more. If you’re in this season just know that it is harder on us than it is on them! Liam was uncomfortable for a day or two and we experienced some initial skin irritation, but babies are so adaptable, and the band has become part of our day. Another plus is that it serves as a form of protection now that he is mobile and on the go!
We are still in the beginning of this journey, but I know time will go by fast. It’s already been almost 2 weeks and we should start to see change with each appointment at Carolina Kinder Development. I’m sharing our story today to not only bring awareness to the topic, but also in the hopes that it provides comfort to anyone else going through this. The process is common, you are not alone, your feelings are valid, and while it feels challenging at the time – our babies will be just fine. They are strong and resilient, and will come out of this with the most beautiful round noggin’ you’ve ever seen.
In other news, we also made a little update to Liam’s nursery this week! The toys and baby gear seem to be filling every crevice of our house lately, so I opted to try and streamline a place for them to live. In an ideal world we would build out a playroom, but that would require me to kick Shane out of his man cave and something tells me that’s not happening. So, I found this 8 cube storage organizer from Walmart along with coordinating indigo storage bins and placed it on the empty wall in his room. It looks cute while serving an incredibly functional purpose and goes easy on the wallet, too (hello under $70)! Not to mention, it was also fairly easy to put together and it comes in different finish options. We’ve had such great luck with Walmart’s home furnishing’s lately! I also picked up these bowls for the kitchen at a steal, and recently decorated our deck with this Walmart Home bistro furniture set.
*Thank you to Walmart for sponsoring todays post. As always, all opinions are my own.